Remember the old saying every horse owner has heard before: no foot, no horse? Trail riding, whether in a group or alone takes proper preplanning for common situations and occurrances, such as a lost horse; it is an essential part of good horsemanship. If your horse pulls one shoe it usually is not a medical emergency, however it needs immediate attention and proper handling to remedy the situation.
Anticipating is Preparing
Have you ever noticed that more people worry more about sunscreen, their soda or water bottle, the feather in the cowboy hat and the barbecue that’s often provided as part of an organized trail ride? A well prepared trail rider always puts the horse and safety first and knows how to anticipate and prepare accordingly. A Swiss army knife, hoof brush, hoof pick, a couple gauze pads and rolls of vet wrap can go a long way on the trails.
It is also a good idea to bring a set of emergency trail boots in the unfortunate event that the horse throws a shoe. Prior practicing of trailer loading so the horse steps into the trailer under difficult circumstances, such as being in pain, is also a good idea, as well as having practiced simple hoof filing and trimming techniques of a chipped hoofwall before, applying leg wraps, hoof bandages and knowing how to use:
– Hoof testers
– Flexible bandaging material to cover and hold pads, poultices or bandages in place
– Ice packs or ice boots to reduce pain and inflammation
– Barrier materials or bags to keep medication in place and contaminants out
– Epsom Salts
– Providone iodine
More of an emergency than a lost shoe is a loose shoe, dangling by just a couple nails and rotated sideways or bent upward. It represents a serious hazard that can slice and puncture the same or opposite leg or pull out half the hoof wall of the affected hoof if snagged or stepped on. A bleeding cut or puncture wound in the hoof sole, pastern or coronet band is an urgent situation and should be treated like an emergency. Bring your veterinarian’s and farrier’s phone numbers at all times. Simly being well prepared for such situations makes the entire ride a lot smoother.